Early Learning PA

ELPA Responds to Governor Shapiro’s 2023-24 Pennsylvania Budget Proposal

On March 7, 2023, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro released his 2023-24 state budget proposal.

The principal partners of Early Learning Pennsylvania (ELPA), a statewide coalition of advocates focused on supporting young Pennsylvanians from birth to age five, are pleased with proposed investments in pre-k, evidence-based home visiting, and perinatal and child health. However, the proposal merely “maintains” a child care system that is already in crisis. Read more.

Through Early Learning PA, Trying Together participates in four campaigns with strategic advocacy goals:

Start Strong PA

Access, affordability, and quality of child care remain critical to the needs of children, families, and communities regionally and across the nation. In Pennsylvania, the Child Care Services line item provides subsidized child care for low income working families; the Child Care Assistance line item provides child care to families receiving TANF; and a portion of the funds are set aside to support Keystone STARS quality improvements for child care programs.

In summer 2015, Trying Together convened an Early Learning PA child care workgroup. In 2019, the workgroup formally launched the Start Strong PA campaign. Through this campaign, advocates work to improve access to high-quality child care (beginning with infants and toddlers) by asking for strategic policy changes and investment increases in Pennsylvania.

Advocate together with us and our partners for high-quality child care for all infants and toddlers in Pennsylvania:

Child care funding for the 2022-2023 Pennsylvania state budget is currently $181.42M for Child Care Services and $109.9M for Child Care Assistance. View the full budget history.


Pre-K for PA

The Pre-K for PA campaign aims to ensure that every child in Pennsylvania, regardless of socioeconomic background, enters kindergarten ready to succeed. A founding member in 2014, Trying Together knows that children with access to high quality pre-k are more likely to be successful academically and have improved social skills. Despite these findings, fewer than forty percent of income-eligible three- and four-year olds are able to access publicly funded, high-quality programs.

Advocate together with us and our partners for high-quality pre-k for all young children in Pennsylvania:

Pre-k funding for the 2022-2023 Pennsylvania state budget is currently $302.28M for Pre-K Counts and $88.17M for Head Start Supplemental. View the full budget history.



Childhood Begins At Home

Home visiting programs meet the comprehensive needs of at-risk infants, toddlers, young children, and their families through voluntary, evidence-based home visiting.

Several of these operate in Pennsylvania including:

  • Early Head Start
  • Family Check-Up
  • Healthy Families America
  • Nurse Family Partnership
  • Parents as Teachers

Evidence-based home visiting in Pennsylvania is funded across two line items. While Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) funds go exclusively to that model, approximately $9.5 million became available in the Community Based Family Centers line in 2017 for all evidence-based models to apply for in order to expand home visiting services.

Trying Together joined the Early Learning PA home visiting workgroup in the summer of 2016 following the enactment of the ’16-’17 budget. In 2018, the workgroup launched the Childhood Begins at Home campaign comprised of a coalition of advocates working to help policymakers and the public understand the value of evidence-based home visiting and effective ways to support parents.

Advocate together with us and our partners for evidence-based home visiting for more children and families in Pennsylvania:

Home visiting funding for the 2022-2023 Pennsylvania state budget is currently $14.13M for NFP and $34.55M for Community Based Family Centers. View the full budget history.


Thriving PA

Thriving PA is a non-partisan, statewide campaign of Early Learning PA that seeks to improve the quality of and increase equitable access to a coordinated system of health supports, including:

  • comprehensive perinatal services;
  • children’s health insurance;
  • nutrition supports; and
  • lead screening and abatement.

The wellbeing of Pennsylvania’s families depends on mothers, infants, and toddlers having equitable access to quality health and nutrition supports. Research shows that when mothers are healthy, children are healthy. However, many in this population group are at risk for poor health outcomes due to longstanding racial inequities and lack of access to health insurance, routine care, and nutrition supports.

Thriving PA’s goal is to ensure each mother and child in Pennsylvania has the opportunity for affordable, quality health care access.

Advocate together with us and our partners for equitable access to quality health supports for mothers and children in Pennsylvania: